Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Court Says Religious Commitment To Climate Justice Prevails Over Historic Preservation Rules

According to the Keene Sentinel, last week a Massachusetts trial court judge ruled that a church's religious commitment to climate justice takes precedence over historic preservation rules:
A Massachusetts Superior Court judge last week ordered Bedford’s Historic District Commission to allow the First Parish Church to install solar panels on the roof of the sanctuary. In what could be a precedent-setting decision, the congregation can install panels to generate electricity in keeping with a principle of “climate justice.” John Gibbons, senior minister of the church, said in a press release, “This ruling makes it possible for us to give more than lip service to our religious values, to walk our talk and to live in greater harmony with the rhythms of nature.”
In other words, parishioners believed they needed to do something to cut carbon emissions to protect the earth. That principle of their faith overruled a strict adherence to preservation of the historic character of their 200-year-old building.